Summer of Bernie!

The summer is over! It’s quarter-zip fleece weather! But still acceptable birkenstock-with-no-socks temperature! The apples are getting their color, the sky is cloudy on the reg, wheat harvest is here, and two nights ago we ate PHO. This is my dreamscape. Good gosh geez I love being on the cusp of peak coziness sooo much, I can taste the pumpkin bread already. Bernie’s world is about to start smelling less like fresh basil and Eggboy sweat and more like cinnamon and brussels sprouts with spätzle and butter and it’s awesome. Ok but I didn’t want to zoom to the next season before documenting some of my favorite moments from this summer!

We went to the the county fair! Bernie met baby goats, baby chickens, mini ponies, and a 7-day-old alpaca! We danced to Eggboy’s big band concert and then I ate a big sausage which tasted exactly how fairs smell, smoky and meaty. And we drank a chocolate strawberry malt. A+ day.

We went on our first little family trip, to Bemidji! We stayed about two feet away from the lake in a tiny cabin with gigantic windows, so all of my nightmares about arriving at our destination to find that we had forgotten Bernie’s sound machine went out the window because we had nature's sound machine of the waves all night and it was the loveliest. During the days we hiked, ate pizza and spumoni, had wild rice in our pancakes, tried on Lester Nygaard hats, waved to Babe and Paul Bunyan, and picnic’ed on fancy cheese and ‘ndujia. It was a short but sweet trial vacation for the next time when we choose a destination that’s more than two hours away!

I went to LA for, like, a few hours because that’s all I could manage for a first trip away from Bern! It was for a little work trip and I got to get all dressed up and stand in front of a background while someone shot a fan at my hair. This is what that looked like! Thanks to Getty and Benjo for the left photo and to TV Guide and Maarten for the right photo!

Bernie met Bernbaum’s and all of our other Fargo faves, like India Palace and Twenty Below and Zandbroz and Sandy’s and Barnes and Noble. (Umm have you been the new Bernbaum’s?? It’s epic, get the black and white cookie.)

We had so many visitors! Sonja and Alex came for a pizza party, my bridesmaids came for a Girl Meets Farm episode, and Auntie Cathy even came and did her famous turkey impression :)

I forgot what TV looks like. Every time I turn it on, even just to have Savannah and Craig chatting in the background, Bernie cranes her head and only wants to look at it and not sing Baby Beluga so I stopped turning it on. What happens after they fall down the elevator in Stranger Things? Anything good?

Baby Beluga is always in my head. Always.

We went to The Lake! I don’t know what summer weekends are like where you live, but here everybody flocks to The Lake. The Lake refers to any number of lakes in the area and what I’m told from Eggboy is that the lake is a place where you eat potato chips and relax, either in the water or in a chair looking at the water. I didn’t get it when I first moved here because I thought, we already live in a very calm relaxing place and I already eat potato chips, why do I need to get more relaxed and eat more potato chips? But I’m slowly starting to get it, that’s where the weekend energy is and floating in a lake is fun and it’s acceptable to subsist on boloney on white bread (in addition to potato chips) at the lake. So even though we don’t have a Lake house we found the public access spot where we’re going to go from now on anytime we feel like chips. And next time Bernie will actually be able to go in the water!

I had my fifth summer at Unglued Camp!!! I only went for a quick second since you-know-who had bedtime and other you-know-who was harvesting but in that time we made fancy uncrustables, splatter painted cake, ate delicious ice cream sandwich sliders, and gossiped with all of my new and old fronds. Camp is the bessst.

We celebrated nephew Cliff’s first birthday! I made his cake and smash cake and wow making cakes these days takes serious nap time ninja moves but we did it and Cliff smashed it!!

We gardened, we looked at the baby in the mirror, we danced, and giggled!

Ok the end, craziest/best summer ever!! Welcome, fall!!!

-Yeh!

Bernie's Nursery!

She’s got a nursery!!! I am soooo excited about Bernie’s nursery reveal today and if I’m interpreting “Oo Goo Ehh!!” correctly, Bernie is too. So is Mr. Hippo, he loves the camera. 

Having an official nursery for Bernie feels way overdue because between my complete lack of interior design skills, the fact that Bernie’s been sleeping in our room, and the Jewish superstition that decorating a nursery before a baby is born could bring bad luck, Bernie’s room had been pretty bare bones. I did a tiny bit of zhooshing when I was 36 weeks pregnant and in major nesting mode, but the room remained a kinda boring half crib corner/half guest room and honestly the most it got used was when my mom came to visit the weekend Bernie was born.

So when Crate and Kids offered to wave their magic wand over the room we threw imaginary confetti in the air because it meant that Bernie would finally have a space of her own to grow with and love. Crate’s Scandinavian-inspired style is so beautiful and, ahem, perfect for our Scandinavian baby. Also, I grew up down the street from Crate’s headquarters outside of Chicago, so this project was a total nostalgia trip for me. 

This room in our house has been many things: Eggboy’s aunts grew up in it, Eggboy slept here when he had weekends at Grandma’s, it was the hair and makeup room for Girl Meets Farm, and it was the room that we slept in for a week when a tree outside of our bedroom was looking a little gnarly and like it could fall. If these walls could talk, I imagine they’d be patient, grandmotherly, and warm. And maybe a little high from the Girl Meets Farm hairspray fumes?! JKJKJK! From the beginning, even at times when it had very little decor at all, this room has had such good, homey energy.

In designing Bernie’s new space, Eggboy and I wanted her to feel that cozy warmth and be surrounded by her animal friends. We also wanted the history of the room to come through and for it to really feel like it was part of a farm house while also feeling fresh. Functionally, since this is the only bedroom in our house other than ours, I wanted there to still be a bed for Grandma visits and for when Bernie grows out of her crib, but for there to also be a space to sit and hang out. 

I love how Crate’s design team ran with this. They wove their vintage-inspired pieces, like their midcentury crib and brass shelving, in with the existing old paneled wall and peppered in our special personal items, like the rainbow from Lily, Alana, and Michelle, the hippo from Great Aunt Judy and Cousins, the needle pointed alphabet wall hanging that we found in the basement, Bernie’s favorite animal mobile, and the little wooden egg family from our shower. And they swapped out our big old ugly guest bed for a twin-sized daybed with a trundle (Bernie’s going to have the best sleepovers!) so it totally feels like we have a big comfy couch in here now. The muted rainbow colors, cozy layered textures, and warm lighting are so soothing. This room truly has an amazing balance of exciting and calm, modern and vintage. And just being in here feels like a hug! 

For now, the room is filled with bunnies galore because Bernie loves bunnies! The crib sheets, the pillows, the changing table cover, the wall decor, and, my personal favorite, the removable wallpaper (!!) all have bunnies. But what’s great about the large furniture pieces is that they’re sturdy, timeless, and safe enough to be able to grow with Bernie. So when she’s older and potentially over bunnies but into, I don’t know, astronomy? martial arts? the trombone? these pieces will be able to be dressed up to reflect those loves.

Ooh and the closet is a whole other wonderland! Bernie officially has the most organized closet in the house. It’s filled with bins upon bins because I find that bins are the easiest way of organizing all of the necessary baby stuff, especially stuff that requires quick access during, like, emergency wardrobe changes and sudden diaper explosions. It’s also packed with imagination-fueled toys that she can play with now (like her soft eggs and bacon set!) and when she gets older (like the prettiest wooden blocks I’ve ever seen). 

Now whenever I’m in this room, I can envision all of the blanket forts and make-believe games in Bernie’s future. It makes me so verklempt! Yes, I am soaking up all of the moments right now while she is tiny enough to cuddle up on my chest, but at the same time it fills me with so much joy to think about watching her grow in this beautiful Bernie space. 

Bernie, Two Months!

Hello from Bernie’s 10th week! She is nearly 2 1/2 months old and smiles more and more each day! We have settled into the best little routine where every morning we have wiggle time, then go to the gym to stroll and listen to Unorthodox, and then come home and make a big summery salad for lunch. In the afternoon we do a fun thing like read crinkly tail tale books or swat at hanging vegetable toys before snuggles and nap time (that’s when I watch Jeopardy and read Bringing Up Bébé). Then we make dinner and Eggboy and I watch Fargo while we wait for Bernie to poop so that we can then give her a bath without worrying that she’ll poop in it (yep, learned that one the hard way haha). It’s peak maternity leave livin’ around here and we are soaking it in. Also the weather has been amazing, so we are, as Bernie puts it, “GOO!” Some highlights from this past month include:

-Our first little family picnic! On Memorial Day, we grilled sausages, potatoes, and broccolini, and drank rhubarb soda while we enjoyed the evening breeze.

-Bernie’s first out of town visitors! Jaclyn and Katie came to town and we had the best weekend ever, which included a trip to Fargo for the Antiques Roadshow (with a stop at Silver Lining Creamery after), the North Dakota Shakespeare 5K (err- we walked 3Ks of it ;), an afternoon picnic in the backyard with cookies and cookie dough (and carrots for balance), and cinnamon roll pancakes at Darcy’s.

-Cuddle time with Mrs. Moose. Bernie’s been grasping and swatting at toys and in true baby fashion she definitely prefers the super saturated weirdly colored high contrast ones. The muted rainbow lover in me is like “😳🙄 But Bernie, this hot pink neon green bumble bee clashes terribly with your navy car seat, mustard outfit, and olive pacifier…” but it’s ok, maybe one day she’ll love dusty rose like I do??

-Bernie’s first Syttende Mai, Norwegian Constitution Day! She is 5/16ths Norwegian, so we went to Sons of Norway and ate lefse, krumkake, rømmegrøt, and all of the other faves. She wore her Norwegian accessories from our friend Trude in Norway and had the best time!!

-My first Mother’s Day, it was delightful! Bernie and I worked on her cookbook and snuggled the day away. Then the following week it was my birthday and we went out to lunch wearing identical outfits and spent the rest of the day baking cookies and cake!

-Bernie talks soo much!! We have great conversations about Ooo and Ahh and Goo, I love them.

-She has gotten very tall, she has Eggboy’s legs. Hallelujah!

Ok, we’ve gotta go pick rhubarb!! Bernie’s sending some friendly hiccups in your general direction and I’m waving! Bye!

-Yeh!

Turkey Spinach Meatballs with Tahini and Chimichurri

I’ve been preparing for this year’s Passover for months now. Ever since I realized that Passover would be Bernie’s first major holiday, I’ve had so many things going through my mind. This is our first holiday as a little family! It’s going to be the best thing ever! I’m going to cry so much!!!!!! Literally I can’t even imagine explaining the bitter herbs to Bernie without tearing up. And carrying her around while searching for the afikoman?? I’m weeping. The food, I realized, would have to be delicious and memorable but mostly prep-aheadable. In my freezer I have balls of Passover chocolate chip cookie dough and a white matzo lasagna (recipes coming soon for both of these), as well as chicken stock that will hopefully see some matzo balls. My mom is planning to be here for Passover so I’m hoping that between the two of us and Eggboy, we’ll be able to both snuggle Bernie all day long and roll a matzo ball. And braise a brisket. Even though braises do really well in the freezer, I didn’t get around to braising one before she arrived. (Oh, this is what Mom guilt is!)

I did however make a bunch of these meatballs that I love for multiple reasons: 

-The flavor is incredible, they taste sausage-y, thanks to a sprinkling of fennel seeds and a heavy hand with the herbs.

-There’s spinach hiding in them! Even though they’re warm and comforting, they’re on the more nutritious end of the spectrum when it comes to freezer foods.

-They’re great as a Passover dish or a non-Passover dish. They’re not like those foods that only really taste good on the sixth day of Passover when you have Passover goggles on.

-Eggboy is obsessed with meatballs. He is meatball boy.

-They freeze and reheat really easily. I store them in a ziploc bag, so they can smoosh in anywhere in the freezer, and then you can reheat them just by tossing them into red sauce or sticking them in the oven. 

Here I’ve plated them up with some creamy tahini sauce (garlicky yogurt sauce is also nice) and a super bright and springy chimichurri. It’s a fun way to eat them for a pasta-less week or if you’re just looking for a filling side for an otherwise vegetable-centric meal. When it’s not Passover I’m definitely piling these high on top of pappardelle. 


Turkey and Spinach Meatballs with Tahini and Chimichurri

Makes 22-24 meatballs

Ingredients

Meatballs

2 tb olive oil, plus more for cooking meatballs

1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped

Kosher salt

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 tsp fennel seeds

8 oz fresh spinach, chopped

1 large egg

1/2 c (30g) matzo meal (or panko breadcrumbs)

Black pepper

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp cayenne

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp sweet paprika

1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

1 lb ground turkey (93% lean)

Tahini Sauce

1/4 c tahini

Juice of 1/2 lemon

3 tb water

Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Chimichurri

1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

1/2 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped

1 clove garlic

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 c (100g) olive oil

Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Clues

Preheat the oven to 425ºf.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat in a large oven-safe skillet. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook until soft, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and fennel and cook for another minute and then add the spinach in batches, stirring, until wilted. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the egg, breadcrumbs, 1 teaspoon salt, a few turns of black pepper, the onion powder, cayenne, thyme, oregano, paprika, parsley, turkey, and the slightly cooled spinach mixture and use your hands to mix to combine.

Wipe out the skillet that was used to heat the spinach and then heat a thin layer of olive oil over medium high heat. Form the turkey mixture into golfball-sized balls and brown them on all sides, in 2 or 3 batches, being careful not to crowd the pan. Transfer the browned meatballs to a plate. Once all of the meatballs are browned, return them to the skillet and stick the skillet in the oven for 7-10 minutes, until they’re cooked through and have an internal temperature of 160ºf. To make the tahini sauce, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, and water until smooth and pourable. If it’s too thick, add a bit more water, if it’s runny, add more tahini. Season with salt and pepper.

To make the chimichurri, combine all ingredients in a food processor, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste, and blend until smooth. If you don’t want to use a food processor, you can also chop the herbs and garlic finely by hand and mix with the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl.

To serve, spread a large dollop of tahini sauce on a plate or shallow bowl, top with meatballs and drizzle on the chimichurri to taste. Enjoy!

To freeze: cooked meatballs can be cooled and stored in a ziploc bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, place on a sheet pan and cover with foil. Bake at 350º for about 15-20 minutes, or until heated through. Prepared chimichurri can be frozen as well. Defrost at room temp or heat briefly in the microwave. I wouldn’t recommend freezing tahini sauce, but it’s super easy to whip up!